As I expected, I got back into the internship. Because no matter what I say when I’m sick, I need to finish this, I want to finish this, and I’m perfectly capable of doing it.
Except now it has became a lot more apparent for the people around me. It’s not only my close group of people “who know that I’m crazy”. When I came back, I had more attention, and I hated it, I felt like erasing the days I was gone and be back to be invisible. Because it didn’t use to be like this before the internship.
After this, many people dislike me because they think I’m faking and taking advantage of it. Some people talk to me like I was a little kid who needs their help. But mostly they have been surprised, because they don’t think of me as a depressive person. For them I’m a little weird and shy but otherwise okay. They still tell me a lot of “You’re not really depressed, you’re just normal, just stressed out and bored” “You just need to get laid” “You just need to get more booze”.
When they have asked me what it feels like, I haven’t been able to say much really. I remember some of my answers and they were short and confusing. So much that the best of them all was: “It just feels bad all the time… but I’m okay today and (changes subject)”. It’s funny that I, being a med intern who has been through psych rotations, talked to lots of patients, and read a lot about psychiatry, can’t do something like defining how I feel.
It’s not sadness. I have experienced sadness, like every other person, and sadness is pretty much a self-limited, reactive emotion. I’ve felt sad when I haven’t acomplished something I wanted to, when I’ve been fighting with someone, when I miss someone, when someone dies… Sadness it’s okay, it’s just an emotion. BUT, I don’t view depression just as a long-term sadness; depression follows its own line, it’s different. It does magnify sad moments and make them dramatic and unbearable, but it’s not the sadness itself. If much it’s the background that makes sadness look bigger. Whatever that means.
I used to define depression as a huge black hole, but in the last couple of years it has felt more like being covered and infiltrated with some thick, dark substance. Everything it’s affected: perception, thoughts, reactions, language, attention, memory, movement, interest. This is how it feels FOR ME.
Mild. The basal state is mild, it’s just being quiet, not talking, feeling sleepy and tired, and not really producing many thoughts except those that lead to overthinking. Ideas just won’t be produced, plans will not be thought of. Perhaps I can go out if someone drags me with no effort on my part. Being emotionally unstable and crying at the stupidest thing. Easy to hide, can still get distracted for a little while if something interesting or new happens.
Moderate. When it gets a bit worse, I don’t feel like talking, I go quieter and more introvert. I can’t pay attention to things around me. What people says it’s irrelevant. I can’t cry because nothing really matters. My self esteem falls to the bottom of the sea, it fills my mind with all kind of self loathing thoughts. I don’t talk to people also because anything they say I will take it as an argument that confirms how horrible and unworthy I am. I feel like EVERYTHING it’s hard to do. The simplest things require a major effort. I’m too tired, even when I haven’t done much. Dying becomes a thought I start playing with because it’s comforting. All I want to do is to sleep, to the point I have thought I’m addicted to sleep. Sleep and doing nothing at all.
Though I’m so glad I’m not insomniac.
Severe. From time to time I don’t cope well at all, the pressure starts building up, little simple tasks that can’t be done start piling up, I feel the little voice of my thoughts raising and telling me how incompetent I am, how stupid, annoying, boring, hideous, etc. And it’s true for me, nothing anyone says against it will change my mind. It gets to the point there’s nothing else in my thoughts. It’s like I had locked myself in the inside of my head. This is when I end up in bed for entire days, leaving everything behind, I can’t get out of bed, not because something hurts, or because of physical strength or because I’m paralized. Nothing can get me out, not even the idea of something I usually like, nothing matters, everything is pointless, living is pointless. I hear stuff going on around me but I can’t really tell what it is and I don’t care either. I don’t even feel like eating, I don’t react to other people being concerned about me.
Suicidal Ideation. I would actually like to live forever, life it’s too short. Especially because I’m an atheist and think there’s nothing beyond death, it’s not really wise for me to die because there’s no afterlife to look forward to. And when I’m fine that’s okay, I just want to live forever as a human and travel everywhere and see everything.
But when things get bad, I’m so stuck in my own head that I see nothing else. My attention drives away from everything and just focus on the great relief it would be to turn off my brain. Somehow. The torture that I’m feeling will be over, it’s all I can think of. I don’t even care about my family or friends because I think that although they will suffer from my death, they will get over it fast and even be relieved that I’m gone. And even if they’re not I don’t care because all what matters is the horrible thoughts that drown me.
When depression is really severe there’s no real risk of suicide because planning a suicide requires so many things, and if everything is hard to do, getting everything prepared it’s just too hard. The biggest risk is probably when I’m on “moderate”. Though it has never gone beyond plans and 1 semi-attempt when I really thought it would be a good idea to jump off from a building, but I ended up asleep in the roof instead.
I still get moments when I’m absolutely okay though. It’s so good and rare that I want to talk to everyone and do everything at the same time. I think I’m the smartest thing in the world, and I realize of how many friends I really have. I wish I could always feel like that, but when I do, nothing really matters, I just enjoy myself for the time it lasts. When I sleep at night my mind reboots and nobody really knows how I’m going to wake up.
Lets see what tomorrow holds for me.